Monthly Archives: July 2012

More Optimism Tips

According to Dr. Christine Carter in her booking Raising Happiness, “Ten-year-olds who are taught to think and interpret the world optimistically are half as prone to depression when they later go through puberty.” Wow! With the rising statistics on kids and adults who suffer from depression and anxiety, that’s a pretty powerful reason to focus on helping our kids be more optimistic!
Carter recommends three ways parents (and counselors) can help kids be more optimistic: give affection; teach kids to cope with challenges and frustration; and model optimism ourselves. At camp, kids have ample opportunities to try new, often challenging activities. Learning to deal with the frustration of not being able to get up on water skiis on the first, second, third, or fourth try is a powerful lesson in both persistence and optimism. Our role is to help kids learn to handle setbacks and frustrations in a positive way and realize that “success is 99% failure.” (Soichiro Honda)
“Optimism is so closely related to happiness that the two can practically be equated,” says Carter, whose research has found that optimistic people are:
  • More successful in school, at work, and in athletics
  • Healthier and longer lived
  • More satisfied with their marriages
  • Less likely to suffer from depression
  • Less anxious
In an article titled “Raise Your Children to be Optimists,” Elizabeth Scott, MS, gives these ten tips for parents:
1. Help Them Experience Success
2. Give Credit for Success
3. Look for Future Success
4. Don’t Praise Indiscriminately
5. Validate, but question
6. Remember Success in the Face of Failure
7. Look for “Opportunities to Improve”
8. Look for the Bright Side
9. Don’t Use Negative Labels
10. Make an example of yourself
Smiling is another powerful tool in promoting optimism, so we practice a lot of smiling around GAC!
Raising Happiness: 10 Simple Steps for More Joyful Kids and Happier Parents, by Christine Carter, PH.D.
Optimism Activities (Fishful Thinking website)
Happiness Habits (
Categories: Being Positive, Benefits of Camp, Communication, Friendship, Fun, GAC, Health, Joyful Kids, Kindness, Optimism, Parents, Raising Happiness, Self-Esteem, Social Skills, Team Building | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Raising Optimistic Kids

As I parent, I’ve spent a lot of time focusing on making sure my children are getting a good education. I check to see that they are keeping up academically, that their school is challenging enough for them, and that they are getting a well-rounded education. I made sure to read aloud to them so that they’ll be good readers. Many of my conversations with other parents revolve around academics: what our children are or are not learning in school, how good their teachers are, and, now that my oldest are in high school, what they need to do to get into college. I believe that a good, solid education is going to provide my children with more opportunities for success as adults. I think most parents would agree. There are some other parenting priorities, however, that I think are sometimes overlooked when we get ultra-focused on academics. These are character assets that, coupled with a good education, will truly be the key to future happiness for our kids. One trait that I want my kids to develop is optimism, and it is something we focus on here at Gold Arrow Camp, as well.
Optimism seems to come naturally to some people. They see the best in every situation and person, never let a failure get them down, and basically look on the bright side. For optimists, a rainy day is a positive thing, an opportunity for dust to settle and the air to be cleared. A failed attempt at something new is viewed as a step towards future success. A counselor once told me a story about a remarkable camper in his group. The young boy was struggling with hitting the target at archery, but instead of getting frustrated and giving up, as kids often do, he had a smile and a great outlook. He let his counselor and cabin mates know that he was going to “hit the target soon,” and he just needed to “keep on trying.” That kind of optimistic spirit will take that young man far in life!
The Gold Fish Guide reads: (Click The Goldfish Guide Video to see more…)
  • Let them try new things, even if they don’t always work out.
  • Tell them to dream big but to start small.
  • Encourage them to learn from others but to always be themselves.
  • Make sure they do a little something every day, and a little nothing every day.
  • Help them to notice what’s nice and to deal with what’s not.
  • Encourage them to look outside themselves and inside themselves.”
For some great articles about raising optimistic kids and a copy of the cartoon version of the above message, visit the Fishful Thinking website at
Here’s to raising a generation of optimists!
Categories: Being Positive, Benefits of Camp, Friendship, Kids, Optimism, Self-Esteem, Social Skills, Team Building | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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